Saturday 28 May 2011

Photos from Germany

This is a random post... I'm experimenting with putting up pictures from another photo-storing site. And using my beautiful photos from Germany for it. I was in Germany with school in April 2004, just the week before Czech Republic entered European Union... the day we crossed the border back to Czech Republic was the last day of not being in European Union. :-) It was quite symbolic. (Of course, we entered the Schengen zone later. But still...)

These photos were taken with a "chemical" camera, and are as I scanned them and altered them for a school project in German. That's why they're in black and white (I needed to print them out) and have German writings underneath.

Bamberg has a beautiful medieval oldtown... I loved it most of all the places we visited. Cobblestone streets, frame houses, the cathedral... (Also, I bought one of my favourite T-shirts of all time there. :D)

Würzburg is another old city. I believe there's a huge baroque palace somewhere in the centre, but this old mailbox was my favourite thing there...

Well - on the experimental front, I think it is a success. It takes more editing to get rid of some writings underneath the photos directing you to the site (, but that's doable. When I run out of space on Blogger (still far away in the future), I have another space to turn to.

Friday 27 May 2011

The Wedding

The wedding I mentioned in one of my posts has come and gone and now one of my sisters is a married woman.

They had a beautiful, beautiful wedding. The minister - the former minister of our congregation who is now on maternity leave with two children, expecting another - had a wonderful sermon, based on Colossians 3, 13-15... the awesomeness of which I cannot duplicate now, but it spoke of forgiveness and the possibility of being a beacon of love to the world. I hope they will be!

And my sister looked amazing. I won't show you photos of her or her husband (unless I get a permission - EDIT: So you can see them HERE), but I think I can safely show you a photo of her hairdo...

Other than this creation from a hairdresser (which, we've agreed, looked a little bit Regency-ish), she had henna-ed her hair to match the orange theme of her wedding - orange is her (actually, I think their) favourite colour. She had an orange ribbon sewn to her dress, again in a bit of a Regency fashion (empire waist), and copper jewellery and, well, looked amazing. :-) Oh yes, those were real flowers in her hair, I think gladiolas?

There were many guests on the wedding - the church was full; they have many friends and, of course, the families are not small either (even though some people were ill and could not come). There were also many children - even on the smallish almost-family-only dinner before the wedding (after the wedding there was a big party for all the guests). And because they had so many guests, they also got many wedding gifts... mostly useful ones, because they had made a clever online list beforehand.

I wore the Miss Barbora outfit minus the yellow belt - in the end. Both my parents told me the style of the belt did not go well with the rest of the outfit. It was good advice, I think. I also think I got more compliments on my outfit than I have got in all my previous life... there were only two other people wearing a hat, the minister (not during the ceremony, naturally) and a girl about 10 years old. People kept photographing me because of the hat. (Obviously, this photo is not from the wedding. No cherries in blossom anymore - now the elderbushes are blossoming!)

I did not take many photos myself, because there were several professional photographers (one of them was the groom's brother) and, well, it was nicer just to enjoy it and talk with people I hadn't seen for a while. We did not get much chance to speak to my sister and her husband on the day, because there were so many other people talking to them, but we met with the family the day after and got more chance then.

And it was such a huuuuge event that I'm still trying to make sense of it. I simply cannot tell you everything.

(Oh, and as a more than little side effect of the wedding, I now have a new sewing machine. It was intended to be a wedding gift, but in spite of the clever online list, a complication arose and uncle & aunt bought a sewing machine, too... Because my old machine has been acting up, the surplus machine went to me.)

Tuesday 10 May 2011

This is not a tag, but consider yourselves tagged

Because it's interesting. Steph alerted me to Tilly's post where she asks several questions about the sewing community; and I think it's interesting enough on its own, even though she actually needs that for a paper she has to write.

Another thinking post; I don't have anything to show in the sewing department right now and I'm in a thinking mood. Considering I'm to write essays for school, I guess that's a good thing.

What does the online sewing community mean to you? Why do you participate?
Why do I participate? Well, a big reason is: because it got me started. I have always been creative in one way or another, but it was the online crafting and sewing community that helped me realise sewing is a good thing for me to do. Sewing involves several things I like doing… not just making itself, but thinking about the making, planning it, designing it, making it almost from scratch in a Robinson-like way (I’ve always found the pre-made nature of things like paper crafts boring after a short while), and there’s also the option of playing with geometry when I make my own patterns (I liked making geometrical bodies like cubes at school, turning a flat piece of paper into a 3D object - and making your own patterns is just that in essence). So, one reason is because the online sewing community helped me see that. And I kind of feel a duty to give back what I’ve been given.
One reason why I think many people nowadays are getting into the DIY thing - me included, although I've always liked it - is that so many people nowadays are doing things that are, frankly, non-productive. We need to feel what we're making with our own hands, not just stare into a computer screen making something largely virtual. And while I still stare into a computer screen a lot and sewing blogs don't help much there, they help in giving me ideas what to make in reality, or giving me hints as to how to make it. I like that.
It’s amazingly friendly, too. And fun. It’s great to converse with people from around the world (Tilly’s got it nailed down) and see how much you have in common. And how these things you have in common matter more than those you don’t.

What are your favourite examples of projects initiated by sewing bloggers that capture this spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation?
Wardrobe Refashion was one such thing. I even participated for a time. I’m still keeping the pledge; I can’t recall when I last bought myself a new RTW piece of clothing other than underwear or stockings – all of my new clothes now since I first took that pledge are thrifted or handmade (by me or other people, that is) or gifted. I stopped participating officially and posting on the blog, because there’s kind of a pressure to keep doing and making things to have something to post, and, frankly, I’m quite content not doing things most of the time. As Novita put it in one of her posts waaay back, „If not doing things makes me happy, than yeah, I’m not doing it. More if I can“. :-) But that was another great thing that challenge taught me, actually quite in line with its foundation idea, so I see no problem there.
Then there’s She Wears Shwe Shwe, a wonderful and, sadly, mostly obscure blog from JAR. (Reminded me to add it to my Blogger Reader, ha!) The lady who runs it loves the traditional South African fabric – shwe shwe – and started photographing other ladies who wear it in the streets. Thanks to that, she got to know lots of people in her neighbourhood and, as far as I can recall, started volunteering and helping out in a community. I think that’s amazing.

Who are the “leaders” in the sewing blogosphere? Is everyone / can anyone be a leader?
I guess everyone is a leader… in a way. Everyone who keeps doing it and communicating with others. The communication is crucial. It seems to me, in blogosphere – certainly the crafty one - you can’t become a leader by assuming you are one. All the people I can think of that have become „leaders“ (Steph named Peter and The Dreamstress, I thought of Gertie or Anna) have become such as a by-product of their enthusiasm and friendliness. Some of them took the mantle of a leader, some have not, but the fact is neither of them started a sewing blog to become a leader; they started them to talk about sewing.

Are you involved in any other network of makers, whether online or offline? What makes sewing blogs unique?
Does preparing a youth magazine count? I guess for the purpose of this question, it will. There are things that are common – like the voluntary nature of both. No one makes you post online, no one forces you to share your knowledge – all the tutorials on blogs online I’ve learned so much from were shared from good will, and in the same manner we who make that Christian youth magazine do so mostly because of good will (I hope). And there’s the whole matter of making something out of nothing.
What’s unique to the sewing community is, I guess, the nature of sewing. :-) As I hinted in my first answer, it’s a complex thing. It can be as simple as sewing a felt case for your glasses without even finishing the seams, and as complicated as draping your own wedding gown and then sewing it and hand-embroidering it and making it its own inner corset structure and who knows what else. There are sub-communities, like quilters, and the whole sub-community of costumers, which itself has its own sub-communities... There’s something for almost anyone, it’s both very creative and very technical; and yet all these people have something in common and can find something of merit in someone otherwise completely different – at least I know I do.
That’s a fantastic thing. As far as I believe that Christianity is universal, too, fact is the magazine I help prepare is just the magazine of my own church (at least right now). Sewing community gives me that outreach on an everyday basis. It’s nice to have it, and it hopefully prepares me to find it elsewhere, too, like Anna from She Wears Shwe Shwe did...
(And, wow, I did not even know it would bring me to that.)

Monday 9 May 2011

The Researcher's Curse, and Blessing

This will be a meandering post, as evidenced by the completely unrelated photo (our cats Lev and - I think - Lisha from back in 2004; I've just found it in my computer. Also, I wish the pictures I upload into my posts were not disrupting my paragraph formatting, but fact is they are).

If you have any experience with a kind of academic research, it might have happened to you, too. When looking into something you're really, reeeally interested in. It's happened to me before, on Grammar school, when I was writing seminary work in History. I chose to research into Old West and Once Upon A Time In The West. Kind of a dream come true, being able to write about such thing. The problem is, when you really love your subject, you get distracted. In case of that seminary work, I kept looking into more and more resources and couldn't bring myself to start writing.

What's happened to me now is almost the exact opposite.

I'm attending a course on American literature in 1865-1910. One fact caught my attention, that Stephen Crane was Methodist - or at least his family was - and that it might have found a way into his writing. The article I found about that concerned his city stories (I'm not familiar with them - yet), while I thought there was quite a lot of that in The Red Badge of Courage (which we read for the course), too. So I'm looking into that. We are supposed first to write a paper proposal, and then the research paper/essay proper. We were supposed to upload the paper proposal into the online system by noon today.

Well, as I said, the opposite of my seminary work situation happened... I got carried away and wrote good three pages of an essay before I realised that it was almost 2 PM and I hadn't uploaded the proposal yet...

Really, a researcher's curse. Sometimes it's easier to write about things you're not interested in. When you get interested, it's hard to do what you're supposed to do.

And sometimes, I think, it's the same case with some of my crafting projects... I think I should be glad I'm also suscpetible to occasional spurs of spontaneously heading into things - headfirst. It often results in unfinished objects - sometimes because they cannot be reasonably finished - but were it not for it, some things would never happen.

Speaking of Methodism, I found this book online - Methodism by H. B. Workman, published 1912 - and this quote by John Wesley:

The best of all is God is with us.

Quite right.

Saturday 7 May 2011

Title sequence from a Czech "western"

My sister asked me to, and I gladly do, share this YouTube video... it has nothing to do with dresses and everything with my other love, westerns.
It's from Cesta na jihozápad (The Journey South-West), a Czechoslovak film made in the 1980s, based on a story by Jack London, filmed in the then USSR. You cannot judge it by American westerns. It's decidedly Northern and Eastern, at least me and my sister think so, and that's what we love about it.
Although, as the YouTube poster of the video noted, and I had noticed before I saw his comment, the whistle in the tune is also decidedly similar to the main theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Another old photo

I found myself in Prague, with time to kill. Not surprisingly, I ended up in that second-hand bookshop. Surprisingly, I didn't feel compelled to buy any of the books. (Well, there were some I would have felt compelled to buy if I already didn't have them - like Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis.) So in the end I leafed through the old photos. And fell in love with this lady's bodice and felt compelled to share. So I bought the photo.

Here you go. If you click on it, it should lead you to a bigger version. Somehow, it ended up not not as big and hi-res as with the previous bunch. I guess Blogger automatically resized it for me... :-( So if you really want the huge file, try here. It's rather heavily scratched, but the scratches are tiny, so it does not disturb the details of the photo.

I have no idea how old it is - with my knowledge, it could be anywhere from 1890s to 1910s. Any better idea?

I love the cutwork on the bodice, and the pintucked yoke. I love how the cutwork runs along the seam and extends over it organically. The style puts me in mind of the Edwardian dress from Rijksmuseum I posted some time ago. It's not the same type of dress, but it has similar spirit - it makes me thing cutwork is the way to go if you want the style done cheaper. Probably not quicker, but cheaper. Maya on Little Treasures made a series on cutwork recently, so you can start there if you like. I guess it's why I was drawn to the photo...

Tuesday 3 May 2011

My mom's dancing lessons dress

Remember the yellow belt I wore with my Miss Barbora outfit? It comes from this dress:

It was my mom's dancing lessons dress. It's a tradition here in the Czech Republic to attend dancing lessons around the age of 15. (Which I gladly broke, because I had no taste for spending Friday evenings with my classmates and the rest of the town. I preferred going to Christian youth meetings which usually take place at weekends. It was more fun. So now I can't dance.) Anyway, that's why I deduce it's from 1972. It looks quite like that time, too.
It was made by my grandma. It started out with a short full skirt, then that skirt was replaced by this long one. I have the short one, too, but I didn't take a photo of it. Maybe later. It has a very generous hem, about 10 cm (4 inch) folded down, so I'm contemplating cutting a bit of that and making it a waistband and a wearable skirt out of it. I have remnants of the lace, too, so I could also make myself a headband to match the belt... possibilities.

I don't think I'm going to wear this dress. With a squint, it fits, but not quite. It's too tight at the neck, and generally a teeny bit tight, probably because I'm not 15 anymore (it might have fit me at 15, but at that time it was still lingering around my grandma's house, forgotten by the whole world). And it's a bit too long. For the photos, I wore shoes that are not mine (they're waiting to go to Oonaballoona in a swap - sorry, Oona). They are conveniently yellow. They also have about 8 cm high heels - much too much for my comfort, which shows in my stiff posture in these photos. Still, I was stepping on the skirt. That long. I have shorter legs than my mom, although otherwise I've inherited much of her looks.

There's a pleated row of flowers cut from the lace running down the front, embelished by rhinestones. You can't see much of it in the photo, but it's there. The same thing goes on on the loose ends/ties of the belt, and on the bottom hem of the short skirt, where unfortunately some of the rhinestones are missing.

Monday 2 May 2011

More from Lomnice

There's a whole Jewish district in Lomnice (small, about 100 houses). It used to be a separate township, the two were unified after the creation of Czechoslovakia, in 1919 I think. They used to be separated by a gate, then a chain; the chain was removed in 1920. Sadly, like anywhere else, the Jews were deported during WW2 and now there are no Jews in the Jewish district. The only trace left is an information board at the entrance, the cemetery and this synagogue.

Next to the Jewish district, there's also the originally Christian cemetery. We didn't go there, but I took a photo of the chapel (or what's this kind of building called.) There's a bakery in this house, and by the looks of it, there always has been. To the left, there are the two cemeteries.An interesting house next to the bakery.To the right there's the township square.There's a house in the opposite corner of the square that apparently used to be a brewery.With a statue of Gambrinus, a highly hypothetical Celtic god of beer.The signs on this little house said "Dressmaker 's - Confectionery." Interesting combination!Then there's this thing father called "a Christian totem pole". It really looks like one... Apparently, there's Virgin Mary on top of it, and there's the tree in the garden of Eden, including the snake. But that's all I'm able to say about it. Father says this is a typical Moravian town hall. Township hall...And, considering the size of the township, a huge church.Beautiful inside. This photo was taken through an ironwork gate inside the church. That's why it's off-centered... It's quite a typical Czech/Moravian Catholic church. Most Catholic churches I've been to looked something like this. Baroque, I think. Most Catholic churches in the Czech Republic were either built or rebuilt during the Baroque era.

Other than these, there's also a smallish chateau/manor/whatever on a hill, but we didn't go there and it wasn't very photogenic.

P.S. Lady Katza is having a giveaway of zippers, elastic and some pretty laces - some useful things for sure!

Sunday 1 May 2011

Jewish cemetery in Lomnice

The Easter Monday hiking trip did not go as planned - we wanted first to go to Lomnice, a small town/township village, then to a hill with a observation tower, and from there back to Tišnov to train. But when we were in the township, a storm came with heavy rain, so we ended up sitting in a restaurant, and then going by bus to train. No observation tower this time.
But in spite of the trip being very short, it was beautiful and I took 125 photos (126 with a deleted blurry one). And thanks to the approaching storm, my photos from the township's Jewish cemetery have fantastic lighting.

The cemetery is less ivy-infested than Jewish (or all old) cemeteries tend to be, and very beautiful. Here and there, there are small bunches of flowers hidden in the grass (though inexplicably almost none of them found a way into my photos). Since the days of its use, houses with gardens grew around it, giving it an almost homely feel.

This last photo is enhanced - it was taken against the sun, so I tried to bring out the details... Not as good as I hoped it could be, but it's a foreshadowing of the heavy rain that came soon afterwards.